The NFL team revealed Thursday that it would now name itself the “Washington Football Team” pending the acceptance of a new name.

Credit: AFP

That is not the team’s final renaming and rebranding; it is the name it continues to use before a new name is adopted at some stage.

The organization will begin the process of removing the previous title and hopes over the next 50 days, by the regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, to be fully rid of it on physical and digital spaces.

Washington will have no alternative to the color scheme. They will also use burgundy and gold, and any player’s number in gold would substitute the emblem on the helmet. The Washington Football Team will debut their home uniforms against the Eagles in Week 1, and their road uniforms against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2.

Although the Washington Football Team would use these jerseys and helmets for the 2020 season, it will receive input from players, alumni, fans, sponsors and the community about the name of the team it will be using in the future.

Terry Bateman, the current executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the franchise, said the team wishes fans, business associates and alumni to join in the process.

“You’re doing a rebranding process that correctly takes 12 to 18 months. If you want to do it right, you have to take a deep breath, take a step back and go through the process,” he said. “We want to do it right, we want something thoughtful and inclusive and smart and bring a lot of points of views into this and come out the other side with something everyone is proud of and can rally behind.

“It feels organic and natural to do this. I love the look of what we’ve done. It’s really strong. I like the logo and the uniforms and the colors. … There’s a tremendous amount of work to do for the next 50 days to do all this. It’s a tremendous amount of work to go through this. The new will go up and the old will go down.”

In the coming days fans would be willing to buy “Washington Football Team” merchandise from the Fanatics and NFL Store.

When asked if they were ever connected to a new name, Bateman said, “You can argue what closeness is. Everybody has a unique opinion. The discussions were, ‘This is great, I like this one. No, I don’t like that.’

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“There are a number of names people like. I probably had a thousand names submitted. I’m getting long letters why one name is the right name for us. It’s funny and it’s fun. It’s interesting. Everyone has an opinion. My wife has a strong opinion. My kids have an opinion. A lot have an idea, but it’s much bigger than that. Even if we had the name 100 percent locked in, to physically get it done before the football season starts would be between hard and impossible.”

“The process is going to be completed whenever it’s right,” he said. “I don’t know when that will be. Whenever we feel like we’ve got the best solution for the organization, for the community, for the fans, for everybody involved.”

The team disbanded on July 13 after conducting a comprehensive analysis 10 days earlier, the name it had used for 87 years.

Team owner Dan Snyder had avoided changing the name for years; in 2013, he told USA Today to “put it in all caps” he would never make such a change. Some who operated for Snyder said they assumed he would rather sell the team than adopt a new title at that time.

The dispute surrounding the name predated Team acquisition by Snyder in May 1999. During the 1991 season Washington played at Super Bowl XXVI, there were 2,000 demonstrators outside the Minneapolis Metrodome. The team owner at the time, Jack Kent Cooke, said of any potential reform, “There is not a single, solitary jot, tittle, whit chance in the world. I like the name, and it’s not a derogatory name.”

Yet after the riots surrounding George Floyd’s death in May, Snyder and the team were under greater scrutiny, while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Within a few weeks of Floyd’s passing, numerous reports have said that Snyder addressed the title change with NFL officials for several weeks already.

In 1998, FedEx signed a 27-year, $205 million, naming rights contract. Since 2003 the owner and CEO of the group, Fred Smith, has been a minority shareholder of the Washington franchise. Nonetheless, he and the other minority owners, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman, plan to sell their stakes according to several sources. Snyder owns 60 per cent of the franchise, his sister and mother.

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